The Mailroom

Hollywood History from the Bottom Up
Narrated by: Sean Runnette
Length: 16 hrs and 39 mins
Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Art
4.2 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It's like something out of a Hollywood potboiler: Start out in the mailroom, end up a mogul. Only for dozens of Hollywood's brightest, it happens to be true. Some of the biggest names in entertainment - including David Geffen, Barry Diller, and Mike Ovitz - began as trainees in musty talent agency mailrooms. Now, in this fascinating new book, veteran Hollywood writer David Rensin travels behind the scenes and through 65 years of show business history to tell the real stories of the marvelous careers that began - and in some cases ended - in the mailroom.

Based on more than 200 interviews, Rensin unfolds the never-before-told history of an American institution - in the voices of the people who lived it. Through seven decades of glamour and humiliation, lousy pay and incredible perks, killer egos and a kill-or-be-killed ethos, you'll go where the trainees go, do what they must do to get ahead, and hear the best insider stories from the Hollywood everyone knows about but no one really knows. The kids in The Mailroom have done it all: from hanging out with Elvis to delivering a senior agent's urine sample to the doctor; from pouring drinks for Sinatra to sending ice to Johnny Carson on the Nile; from crashing the Academy Awards ceremony to hoping to deliver more than just the mail to sexy actresses' homes.

The Mailroom reveals why Harvard MBAs fight, turning down secure six-digit corporate salaries, to start work at a major agency for less than $400 a week; what it takes to appease impossible bosses, outsmart the competition, and "agent" the agents; and how a hungry, star-struck kid can become the next Geffen or Diller by sorting mail, eavesdropping on crucial conversations, and trying anything to get noticed.

Full of revealing stories and delicious dish, The Mailroom is not only a nonstop, engrossing listen, but a crash course, taught by the experts, on how to succeed in Hollywood through hard work, shrewd manipulation, and a hell of a lot of nerve. The Mailroom is classic Hollywood - a vibrant and complex tapestry of dreams, desire, exploitation, power, and genuine talent. If you want to know who rules Hollywood and how they got their power, if you want to know how to start with nothing and get ahead in any business, this is the audiobook you must listen to.

©2003 David Rensin (P)2018 Tantor

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Great for naps

I’ve found this to be the perfect audiobook for napping. The narrator has a calm, soothing voice that rarely breaks his established cadence. As an oral history, there’s no plot to follow. If you doze through parts of it, you won’t lose information crucial to the storytelling. The book itself clearly didn’t hold my attention. After a while, all the interviews sound the same. Working in the mailroom was an awful experience, its main purpose being to prepare these future agents for the insanity that comes with the job. There are “highlights” - delivering a script to find an actress at the door in a robe, staplers and chairs thrown at heads, and multiple firings over the smallest infractions. Cars break down, everyone drinks to excess, etc etc. Different eras, same stories. Highly recommended for insomniacs.

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Some interesting Hollywood history.

Some interesting Hollywood history. But , who cares if rich entitled guys and gals had to would hard for a short time to make themselves into Hollywood agents..........

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Up there with the best books of this kind.

If you are a fan of learning the stories behind the glamour of Hollywood, you will appreciate this book. Similar to CAA, the book interviewed dozens of former mailroom employees, some who have made it big, some who have not, to get the inside story on how much of Hollywood gets started in the business.